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EWU professor killed in kayaking accident

Mon., June 1, 2009, 11:06 a.m.

An Eastern Washington University professor is believed to be the man killed in a kayaking accident on the St. Joe River on Friday.

W. Anthony “Tony” Oertling was an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The 55-year-old had been at EWU since 1992 and was in his first year as chair of the department, “where he was performing in his usual effective and enthusiastic manner,” according to an e-mail Judd Case, dean of the College of Science, Health and Engineering, sent to colleagues Monday morning.

The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office continues to withhold the name of the kayaker, who is presumed drowned, but Case’s e-mail said Oertling died in a kayaking accident in Idaho on Friday afternoon.

The Sheriff’s Office described the victim as a veteran kayaker who had 20 years of experience on the St. Joe.

Four other people were reportedly in his party – one in a kayak and the others riding in a pontoon boat.

All members of the party were wearing life vests and other safety gear, according to a news release.

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